Shaina Rudolph and Danielle Royer are the authors of All My Stripes: A Story for Children With Autism, an endearing, unique, and beautiful story about embracing differences. Shaina has been educating children for the last 12 years as a reading specialist in the greater Los Angeles area. Working with students from all walks of life has taught her to instill the importance of reaching one’s potential. Danielle is an educator in Santa Monica, CA. Her passion for teaching and working with children is inspired by her two youngest brothers, both of whom have learning differences. She believes that it is important that children feel comfortable in their own skin.
Let’s hear what they have to say about the book and how they cultivate this message of empowerment to meet students’ individual needs, no matter their stripes.
What is your newest book about?
All My Stripes is about a young zebra named Zane who is on a journey of self-discovery. He is worried that all that his peers can see is his “autism stripe.” With the help of his nurturing mother, Mama Z, Zane begins to understand that he has many positive traits. His newfound strength helps him realize that he is not defined by his autism. In the end, he is proud of all of his unique stripes!
What inspired you to write this book?
After working for years with children who have autism, we decided it would be a great idea to create a relatable hero for children with autism. Zane came to life in our minds and hearts, and we felt compelled to share his story in hopes that it would reach as many people as possible and make a difference in their lives.
What’s your favorite story from making this book?
Our favorite part about making this book was hearing feedback along the way and seeing how much people believed in the project. Each time it was presented to a new person, that person was inspired to tell someone else, who told someone else, until all of a sudden Stan Lee was endorsing our story! The ripple effect has been very exciting, and now we see the ripples reaching children with autism along with their parents, siblings, caregivers, and teachers!
How did you get your ideas for the characters? Why tell this story with a zebra as the main character?
Using a zebra and stripes provided an icon that embodied the message of our story perfectly. We knew from our very first discussion that we wanted Zane to have a red stripe as red is such a powerful color. In the beginning of the story, it represents what Zane perceives to be a stigma, but by the end the reader identifies the red as a positive symbol of uniqueness. As the story evolved, and more characters developed, zebras were chosen because they can easily take on human characteristics while maintaining an air of imagination.
What made you want to publish with Magination?
Magination Press was just as excited as us about this project, if not more. They never tried to change our vision. They worked closely with us to develop the idea into more than we could have ever imagined. Magination Press has been an incredible support, and because of their support, we know Zane’s story has achieved its potential.
How does it feel to be a published author?
Writing this book has been a dream come true. We are so elated that we found Magination Press. Being a published author elicits such a great feeling of accomplishment. We have officially left a mark on this world, and we could not be more proud.
Any advice for new authors?
Whatever your message is, it is important. Someone will relate to what you’re saying, and if it makes a difference in one person’s life, it’s worth it. You will be surprised how much more fruitful your project becomes if you trust and enjoy the process. Make sure that you find a publisher that believes in the book, like Magination Press believed in All My Stripes.